While many runners are constantly in search of strategies to avoid running injuries, lower back pain when running is commonly overlooked.
Lower back pain is an all-too-common condition that many people accept as a part of life — a consequence of getting older, a bad side effect of sitting at a desk all day, and so on.
If you run, your running form may play a significant role in whether your lower back muscles oppose the miles you put in.
However, lower back pain when running originates from very specific factors that can be cured addressed, and dealt with very quickly.
This blog discusses the causes of lower back pain when running, as well as what you can do to prevent and treat it.
What Causes Lower Back Pain When Running?
The worst acute pain is low back pain when running.
Everyone, runner or not, has experienced it at some point in their lives.
You picked something heavy improperly, you spend 8 hours a day in a chair, or it might be the result of certain flaws with your posture and body movements.
But, in a nutshell, you don’t have to suffer from lower back pain when running for a long period of time.
Strength training, posture correction, and mobility exercises are all approaches to going back to pain-free running.
Continue reading to learn how weak and tight muscles contribute to your pain and how to strengthen those issue spots.
When you push your physical boundaries, you may experience discomfort throughout the recovery phase.
A lengthy run might leave you out of breath and aching the next day.
While some discomfort is to be expected as you enhance your physical capabilities, lower back pain when running might be a sign of something more serious.
Running is one of the most fundamentally involved activities we can engage in.
When we talk about the core, we don’t mean the six-pack; rather, we mean the muscles that surround the entire spine (which includes the pelvic floor and the glutes).
Poor core endurance can lead to the breakdown in trunk stabilization as distance or intensity increases over time, especially as tiredness sets in.
As a result, the lumbar spine and pelvis absorb more ground reaction force than necessary, resulting in an achy low back.
1. Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
The Sacroiliac joints are two joints located on either side of the lower back, above the buttocks.
They’re easy to spot since they’re just adjacent to two knobbly chunks of bone in your lower back.
The ‘Dimples of Venus‘ are also two dimples in the skin overlying the joints.
Excessive pressure can be pushed through one of the sacroiliac joints (very occasionally through both joints at the same time) when we step harder on one foot than the other when running, irritating the joint and making it inflamed and uncomfortable.
As the Sacroiliac joints become sore, they cause the surrounding muscles to get swelled up. Therefore, we feel lower back pain when running.
2. Myofascial Trigger Points
In reaction to stress, weak muscles tend to perform two things.
They either totally cramp up, or tiny sections of the muscles cramp up, resulting in little knots of highly tight muscle known as trigger points.
These two reactions are more likely to occur at the finish of major races.
As a result, we experience moderate to severe lower back pain when running, which does not appear to be easily stretched out.
3. Facet Joint Irritation
The spine is composed of building components known as vertebrae.
These vertebrae are joined together at the front by discs and at the rear by joints.
If you have a huge hollow in your lower back (like a dancer or gymnast) and weak abdominal muscles, these joints can get irritated and inflamed, making running uncomfortable.
4. Weak Back
It’s a weakness in the lower back muscles that causes a lack of control during running, but it’s also a weakening in the abdominal muscles.
These two flaws combine to generate a systemic weakness in the lower back, which means that when we exhaust during a run, the muscles are unable to regulate movement, resulting in tension on the spine and soreness.
5. Muscle Imbalance
However, lower back pain when running can also be caused by a lack of muscular balance, which means that certain muscles are weaker while others are strong.
Similarly, runners are repeatedly detected to have core weakness and instability, which leads to lower back pain when running.
A physical therapist can diagnose muscular imbalances and core weakness and then prescribe specific exercises aimed at strengthening or extending the muscles that need it.
A physical therapy analysis will help with this.
However, if you want to test a runner’s form more specifically, the physiotherapist would employ a video gait analysis to determine inefficiencies.
Many times, once muscle balance and core strength are recovered, running form and low back pain when running improve.
The hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors are common muscles in which many runners lack flexibility.
With more individuals working from home, many people are sitting more regularly, which causes these muscles to tighten even more.
Making it a habit to stretch these muscles on a regular basis is an excellent place to start.
Common core muscle strengthening, such as planks, bird dogs, curl-ups, and hip strengthening exercises, can also assist most runners.
6. Herniated Disc
When you run, your joints take a pounding.
Some of the shocks are absorbed by the cartilage between the bones for each joint.
You might be amazed to find that it’s not only your foot and leg joints doing this.
Your spine accomplishes the same thing, and the cartilage discs between the vertebrae give some vibration protection.
However, any weak regions in the spine, whether from age or injury, can cause that protective disc to swell or bulge out (herniating).
This might result in severe lower back pain when running.
Hyperlordosis is a condition in which the spine folds inwards, giving you a hunched-over look.
It’s not always visible, but it can knock your form off and cause tension in your lower back muscles.
If you suspect this is the case, consult with a medical expert to determine the best course of action.
To inspect for hyperlordosis at home, stand straight against a wall with your legs shoulder-width apart and the back of your heels a fraction of an inch from the wall.
You should have no trouble putting your hand between the curved section of your back and the wall if your shoulder blades, head, and buttocks are all contacting the wall.
If there is more than a hand’s width between the wall and your back, you may have hyperlordosis.
How To Prevent Lower Back Pain When Running?
There are certain strategies you can do before and throughout the run to relieve lower back pain when running.
This can be avoided by regularly moving the nerve.
Do a standing toe touch stretch before each run, but instead of maintaining and stretching for 30-60 seconds, do three sets of 15 reps, holding the lowest position only for a second or two.
Runners who solely run on asphalt or concrete all year are also more likely to have lower back pain when running or afterward.
Cross-training on softer terrain is often recommended — trails and tracks combined with road training can have a stabilizing effect on your low back and all the muscles down the hierarchy.
Furthermore, with proper strength training, overuse issues, such as lower back pain when running, can be decreased by up to 50%.
Now, let’s talk about some of the more effective tips to prevent lower back pain when running.
1. Wear Appropriate Running Shoes
Poorly fitting shoes might be detrimental to your back’s health.
That doesn’t imply your present, costly running shoes are bad if you have lower back pain when running.
However, it does signify that you are not wearing the proper shoes for running.
To begin with, if you overpronate, you must wear a stability shoe. You can wear practically any shoe if you have a neutral foot.
Second, select a shoe that is suited for the type of exercise you perform.
If you’re a runner, go for a shoe made exclusively for running.
If you like to walk, you should look for walking shoes.
Finally, be certain that your shoes are correctly fitted to you. Being overly large implies that your foot muscles will be constantly strained as you struggle to keep your shoes from falling off during activity.
Shoes that are too tiny, on the other hand, restrict circulation, pull your muscles and joints into awkward and painful postures, and cause discomfort all the way up to your posterior chain.
2. Warm-Up Properly Before Your Run
The importance of warming up cannot be underestimated!
If you go into a hard workout while your muscles aren’t nearly heated enough, you’re far more likely to injure yourself (not just your lower back).
This is true for every type of training!
Warming up is essential for injury and pain avoidance whether you’re running, cycling, or lifting weights.
A dynamic stretching exercise or yoga postures are two terrific warm-up options.
These are light and simple, warming up the muscles without tiring you out or injuring you.
3. Work On Your Running Form
Are you mindful of your own running form?
Most of us aren’t, yet it can play a significant role in the lower back pain when running.
It’s worthwhile to examine your running form and take measures to enhance it if possible.
But you must understand one thing nothing happens overnight.
You’ll have to put in consistent effort, but improving your running form can only help you in the long run.
Correct running form results in fewer injuries, stronger muscles, and better performance in both practice and competition.
4. Commit Yourself To A Running Program
Making a running schedule can be extremely useful.
Overtraining can create complications of its own, so adhering to a well-planned schedule can be really beneficial.
Make a routine to run three to four days a week.
It may be a good idea to vary your training, such as completing a long run weekly, tempo runs on one day, and speed training on another.
On alternate days, you can perform cross-training exercises to strengthen other muscles while relaxing your legs.
Also, pay attention to how you proceed through your routine.
If you feel the desire to increase your distance or speed, be cautious not to do it too rapidly. This can result in serious injury!
4. Try To Stretch Your Hamstrings
Tight hamstrings can put undue strain on the lower back!
Muscles are all interconnected, and sometimes, soreness in one muscle is only a sign of a problem in another.
We recommend stretching your hamstrings at least once a day.
Stretch your hamstrings twice a day if you have tight hamstrings or lower back pain when running for no obvious cause.
5. Tone Your Muscles With Strength Training
Cross-training is frequently undervalued.
However, integrating various forms of exercise on a regular basis helps to develop all of the muscles that running neglects, lowering the likelihood of muscular imbalances and lower back pain when running.
6. Cool Down After Your Run
Your cool-down should be just as vital as your warm-up.
Stretching, yoga, and foam rolling are all fantastic techniques to relieve any muscular stiffness that may have developed as a result of your workout.
This will ultimately work as a form of prevention from lower back pain when running.
In addition to these tips, working on your running form is one of the greatest methods to ensure your lower back is strong and in shape during your run.
While running, it’s common to be into whatever running form seems natural and most comfortable.
However, learning and continuously practicing excellent running form is the most effective approach to avoiding lower back pain when running.
How To Treat Lower Back Pain When Running?
If pain is interfering with your daily life, you’ll need to address the symptoms in order to go on with your daily routine.
However, the ultimate objective is to address the underlying issue that is generating lower back pain when running in the first place.
This might be due to a muscular imbalance or weakness, or it could be due to poor form.
If you’ve tried these preventative measures but your lower back pain when running persists, don’t ignore it without seeking expert help.
Instead of simple remedies like running form and strength training, there might be underlying medical issues causing lower back pain when running.
If the pain is severe, consistent, or lasts for many weeks, you should seek medical attention.
Another clue that you should visit a doctor is if your symptoms last longer than 8 weeks, don’t improve with stretching, or move to your calf or foot.
Your doctor may recommend therapies such as over-the-counter pain relievers, a stretching schedule, physiotherapy, or strength training.
But, in the end, your treatment should focus on training to address the core issues.
Lower back pain when running can be a real demotivator. The back is a crucial aspect of maintaining appropriate running form and enjoying a wonderful run.
Lower back pain when running, however, is surprisingly common, especially among less experienced runners, those with improper running form, or those with weak back and glute muscles.
So, if you’ve ever had lower back pain when running, you know how unpleasant and uncomfortable it can be.
Many causes of lower back pain when running can be addressed at home with appropriate rest and physical activity limitations.
Your doctor may also advise you to run on a different type of surface or to wear shoes with enough support.
1. Can be running help me in healing from lower back pain?
Surprisingly, running can help to alleviate lower back pain. This may sound quite less intuitive, but strengthening the muscles in the lower back can aid to alleviate lower back pain. Running can help reduce lower back pain, but you must be careful to maintain proper form. Using the improper form can be disastrous since it can aggravate the lower back pain!
2. How running can help in curing lower back pain?
Most individuals are unaware that the core and the back work together to support the body. If you have a weak core, your lower back muscles will most likely have to work extra hard to keep you steady. Strengthening your core muscles truly benefits your back muscles! A stronger core allows your back to take a break, which helps to alleviate lower back pain. Running helps you improve core muscles while also reducing body fat. A reduced body fat percentage can also relieve strain on the lower back and spine, which can aid to alleviate soreness.
3. What is the role of strength training in the prevention of lower back pain from running?
Strength training is vital for preventing lower back pain when running. Strong core muscles, along with a powerful kinetic chain, can assist relieve lower back pain when running. Strengthening your core muscles is very important since they assist to maintain your spine.
However, before beginning a new fitness plan, always consult your doctor, especially if you have lower back pain when running. Planks and mountain climbers are two strength training exercises that might help avoid lower back pain when running.
4. Should I run with lower back pain?
While running is a basic form of exercise, each body reacts differently to it. It is a high-impact activity, but depending on your weight, stride, and coordination, it may be beneficial or destructive to your lower back pain when running. According to research, people who run or walk briskly on a daily basis, on the other hand, appear to have better spinal discs than those who do not exercise. Check with your doctor for the best advice on whether you can run with lower back pain.